Welcome back to our Behind the Scenes blog series. We recently took you into the colorful world of Produce. Now we’d like to introduce you to the department that enters beast mode daily: the Deli.
Did you know?
- The Deli is working to eliminate all GMOs or GMO related products from their recipes and moving toward 100% organic products. Presently, they use 82% organic products and constantly look for ways to get to 100%.
- The Deli processes more than 200 lbs. of fresh chicken daily. That means they prep and cook more than three tons per month and 36+ tons in a year.
- Roughly sixty people work in the Deli, about one-third of AFC total employees, at any one time throughout the year.
- One of the most popular dishes is meatloaf and it’s made in SIXTY pound batches. They use ground turkey and Emerald Hills grass-fed beef, alternating the two from one day to the next.
If you’ve ever stepped foot in the Deli, you’ve likely seen Justin Robeson (black backwards hat, 2nd from back right in the photo above). Maybe he took your sandwich order, maybe he delivered your smoothie, or maybe he gave you a sample of soup. He has worked at the Co-op for 8 years, the last 5 years as Assistant Manager of the Deli Kitchen. He was able to escape the Deli hustle and answer a few questions.
Describe your department in three words.
Making miracles happen.
What is the most popular Deli item?
Butternut Squash Lasagna.
If you were stranded on a desert island, and could only take 3 items from the Deli with you what would they be and why?
A knife, a lighter, and the Brandy because I will
Can you tell us a little known fact about your department?
The Deli dishwasher runs more loads than any machine in the Rogue Valley.
What's the busiest time of year for the Deli and why?
Thanksgiving week is the busiest because it is a food holiday. We cater the store meal on the Monday of Thanksgiving week, then prep, cook, and organize Deli Thanksgiving meal orders, and in general are just extra busy in the store… it’s a long week.
Would you rather...
Eat from the hot bar or order off the Deli menu? Order off the Deli Menu.
Coffee or tea? Coffee in the morning, Iced Tea in the afternoon.
Smoothie or Kombucha? Smoothie.
Breakfast burrito or breakfast sandwich? Breakfast burrito.
Between the Hot Bar, Cold Salad Bar, Green Salad Bar, Smoothies, Specialty Sandwiches, and Build Your Own Burrito, the Deli has a lot to offer. The selection can be overwhelming, especially if you are a first timer. Even if you’re not, you might be stuck in a rut like me. I could eat Noble Braised Pulled Pork and Butternut Squash Lasagna every day. To help navigate the plethora of choices, here are some staff recommendations.
“It's hard to choose a favorite food item... so I am going to pick two! I LOVE our hummus. It is straight to the point, authentic and is a staple in my fridge. I also love the Sesame Kale Salad on the cold bar. It's gingery and delicious,” says Deli Chef Adriann Ribis.
Deli Chef James Whitmire favors the breakfast burrito. “My favorite Deli Food right now is the basic breakfast burrito. It really gets me powered up in the morning. You can’t beat fluffy organic eggs, melted pepper jack cheese and tater tots. If you really want to get crazy, you could add a little Cholula or salsa in there.”
That’s the Deli. A dynamic department churning out 60 lb batches of meatloaf and meeting the vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, on-the-go meal needs of the Rogue Valley. Next up, we’ll talk salmon, beef, chicken and turkey and meet the Meat Department.